Wednesday, May 26, 2021

ARC Review: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Title: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1)
Author: Hannah Whitten
Publication Date: June 15, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn't the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he'll return the world's captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can't control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can't hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn't learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole. 

Going into For the Wolf I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I love dark fantasy and fairytales, but I didn't love Uprooted. I am thrilled to say that this was absolutely a ME book! While I do think it is a dark fantasy in the same way that Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale are, I wouldn't really compare them. To me, this is closer to Joanna Ruth Meyer's Echo North or Rosamund Hodge's Cruel Beauty, and those happen to be some of my all-time favorites. 

For the Wolf is told in alternating POVs. The first is Red, the second daughter who has terrifying magic and is meant to be a sacrifice for the Wolf who keeps the monsters of the Wilderwood at bay. The second is her sister, Neve, who is trying to save Red from her fate. At first the split POV slowed the book down for me, but by the end I was totally on board with both sisters' stories.

This book grabbed me within the first couple chapters once Red entered the Wilderwood. I absolutely adore all of the lore present within this story. The town Red and her sister are from is full of sinister religion and superstition that Red comes to realize is far from the truth. The Wolf is actually a man named Eammon and is nothing like what she has been taught. The relationship between Red and Eammon was EVERYTHING. If enemies to lovers is your trope, you are going to love this. 

As I already mentioned, the lore of For the Wolf is incredible and so is the rest of the world building. While I can't wait to see a map of this world, I felt like I could easily envision the Wilderwood and the lands it surrounds and separates. The magic system is unique and well explained with small reveals throughout the book to keep you guessing. The cult-like religion that rules this world, along with its villain, is multifaceted and believable and I cannot wait to see where this goes in book two. 

One thing that I did notice is that this story seems to be closer to Beauty and the Beast than Little Red Riding Hood. I don't know if there's a deeper original tale that I'm unfamiliar with but, other than Red's and the Wolf's names, I didn't see the similarities to Red Riding Hood. Luckily, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. That being said, For the Wolf may have touches of these tales, but it's utterly unique and doesn't rely too heavily on any of them.

For the Wolf is an absolutely incredible dark fairy tale that had me immediately in a slump after it ended because honestly nothing can compare. I was hyping this book to my friends before it ended and I plan to shout from the rooftops for the foreseeable future. The wait for For the Throne is going to be long and I'll certainly be re-reading this in the meantime. 


Friday, May 14, 2021

Book Review: Flock by Kate Stewart

Title: Flock (The Ravenhood #1)
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: July 27, 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Pages: 364
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Can you keep a secret?
I grew up sick.⁣
Let me clarify.⁣
I grew up believing that real love stories include a martyr or demand great sacrifice to be worthy.⁣
Because of that, I believed it, because I made myself believe it, and I bred the most masochistic of romantic hearts, which resulted in my illness.⁣
When I lived this story, my own twisted fairy tale, it was unbeknownst to me at the time because I was young and naïve. I gave into temptation and fed the beating beast, which grew thirstier with every slash, every strike, every blow.⁣
Triple Falls wasn’t at all what it seemed, nor were the men that swept me under their wing. But in order to keep them, I had to be in on their secrets.⁣
Secrets that cost us everything to keep.⁣
That’s the novelty of fiction versus reality. You can’t re-live your own love story, because by the time you’ve realized you’re living it, it’s over. At least that was the case for me and the men I trusted my foolish heart to.⁣
Looking back, I’m convinced I willed my story into existence due to my illness.⁣
And all were punished.

I don't usually review romance when I read it, mainly because it doesn't necessarily fit with the rest of my blog content. Lately, though, I've been reading a lot more romance when I get stuck in a reading slump and I figured it's about time my blog content catches up to my reading preferences. Flock is a book I haven't had much interest in reading, despite seeing it hyped constantly on TikTok. The other day my friend told me I HAD to read it so I gave in and devoured it in a day. 

Flock begins with current day, 26-year-old Cecelia returning to a town where she left behind the only man she ever gave her heart to, while telling the reader that it's a bad idea. It immediately flashes back to 18-year-old Cecelia coming to town for the first time to live in her dad's house and work in his factory. During her first day on the job she meets Sean and joins him at a house party where she's immediately overwhelmed with people and the weirdness of the situation. Everyone seems to have the same tattoo and Sean's roommate Dominic is a jerk as soon as she meets him. Thus begins her quest to integrate herself into their lives because they're hot and she's bored. 

I'll admit, I fully intended to enjoy this book as soon as I started. It isn't peak literature, but I figured it would be a fun book to pass a day. Then Sean came into the picture and, although he seemed charming and mysterious at first, I was pretty quickly turned off by him. One of the first interactions between Sean and Cecelia occurs on a hike, during which Sean removes Cecelia's Apple Watch, stomps on it, and spouts a bunch of philosophical nonsense about time. This immediately set off red flags, but I was assured he wasn't manipulative so I kept reading. 

The next red flag came when Sean took Cecelia's phone while they were out together and told her she wasn't allowed to have it when she was with him. Red alerts sounded, but I was promised it would all make sense later. Sean was mostly fine until much later in the book when the alarm started BLARING.

Spoilers for an argument later in the book.
Later in the book, Cecelia cooks dinner for Sean and waits for several hours past their agreed upon time. When he finally shows up, she confronts him about being HOURS late and he turns it around, whining about how he didn't have a phone because of reasons and she doesn't trust him and doesn't believe in him. When she asks for an apology for his extreme lateness he tells her maybe they shouldn't be together and SHE ends up apologizing and inner monologuing about how she deserves him hurting her. I just - no. Hard, hard no. All the red flags. Dump him IMMEDIATELY. But of course she doesn't.

Thankfully, this is a polyamorous romance and Sean isn't the only love interest. Remember the jerk, Dominic? He stays a jerk, but at least he's upfront about who he is. The romance between them was so, so much better. I really enjoyed seeing his walls come down around Cecelia and am eager to see what happens between them later if I continue the series. 

Throughout Flock there is a bit mystery surrounding the tattoos and the secrecy amongst Sean, Dominic, and their friends. Few answers are given in this book and the vagueness with which everyone speaks is enough to make me want to scream. There is a cliffhanger ending, but honestly not one that made me want to immediately start book two. 

I probably will continue this series at some point, but only because I've been assured that there's a distinct lack of Sean in that installment. I was intrigued by the story but extremely skeeved out by such a manipulative love interest. It doesn't seem to bother anyone else I know, so it's probably my personal baggage coming out to ruin my reading experience, but I think it's definitely worth discussing. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday #301: Nature on the cover

Today's Topic: 
Books with Nature on the Cover

Happy Tuesday! This week is about pretty nature covers and I ended up going with mostly landscapes that I thought were really pretty. I love all the woodsy vibes in these covers and they're all books I absolutely loved! 

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Cold is In Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Snow & Rose by Emily Winifred Martin
The Glass Butterfly by A.G. Howard
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Weekly Recap: 5/2 - 5/8


Hi, everyone! Another week of actually posting after a random week off. It's wild to me that I used to post seven days a week. How did I even do that? I don't have much of a life update this week except to say that I'm busy and I wish I was less busy. I did start watching season 8 of Catfish, which I somehow didn't realize was out. At least I have lots of episodes to binge! Shadow and Bone was great, although I certainly had some problems with it. Perhaps I'll make an in depth post with what I loved and didn't love about it soon. 





Monday mini review of The Camelot Betrayal
The topic was recent reads for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday I talked about books with too many special editions



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Special editions are out of control! Updated for 2021

What was once just a post about how there were SO many editions of a few popular books has now become a feature that I update every two years. In 2017 I made my first post discussing the many editions of Caraval, Tower of Dawn, and some others. I did an update in 2019 focusing on the ever growing number of Caraval editions along with the Folk of the Air series. I've been thinking about this 2021 update for awhile but wasn't sure when or if to post it. It seems that as the years go by, people are split into a few categories: those who don't care either way, those who are annoyed with all the special editions and see them as money grabs, and those who LOVE them and become irate when people in the second camp say something about their irritation. 

I fall into the second camp. I really can't put into words exactly why it bothers me so much when publishers put out several special editions of a recently released title, but it definitely turns me off of certain series and authors. As much as I loved Caraval when it was being published, I stopped collecting it once more and more editions were announced. Something about the blatant money grab by the publisher rubbed me the wrong way and put a bit of a damper on my love for the series. There are certainly series that I love and collect multiple editions of, but too many irks me and I can't explain it. 

I know other people are obsessed with collecting every edition and that's totally fine too! Everyone shows their love of books differently and that's how it should be.

Without further ado, let's jump into it! (Note: I am only including US & UK editions in these counts.) 

Caraval editions: 11
Legendary editions: 9
Finale editions: 12

Of course, we have to start with the book that began everything special edition here on the blog. Not much has changed in this regard, but I couldn't go without giving a recap of every edition (excluding US paperbacks and foreign editions) that I'm aware of. 

Starting on the left, we have the US hardcover, UK hardcover, and UK paperback of each book. Each UK hardcover also had an exclusive Goldsboro edition that was signed and numbered with sprayed edges. In addition, there was a Waterstones exclusive hardcover of Finale with sprayed edges. A B&N exclusive edition of Finale was also published. In the middle are all the hidden covers for the UK hardcover editions. These are special embossed hardcovers under the dust jacket that have different images or quotes. There is also an additional Caraval hidden cover that could only be purchased at Tesco. On the top right are the deluxe editions published in collaboration with Fairyloot. Beneath that are the Waterstones exclusive Legendary paperback, the Finale Fairyloot edition, and the Finale Owlcrate edition. On the bottom right are the exclusive Caraval paperbacks that could only be purchased at certain places in the UK (also shown is the standard UK paperback). 

Only one additional edition has been published since my last post, the collector's edition. This edition includes a slipcover and can be purchased everywhere online for $35. I'm not sure why a book with 10 other editions needed a collector's edition four years after publication, but here we are. This is the single series with the most editions I've ever seen by far.

5 editions of each

In my 2019 update I discussed The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. Since then, more editions have been released along with a novella which also has five editions. 

Starting with the top left there is the standard US hardcover of The Cruel Prince, the UK hardcover, Owlcrate edition, Illumicrate edition, and Fairyloot edition. In the second row is the US hardcover of The Wicked King, followed by the Owlcrate, Illumicrate, and Fairyloot editions. In the third row is the US hardcover of The Queen of Nothing, Waterstones Exclusive, Owlcrate, Illumicrate, and Fairyloot editions. Each of these three books also have exclusive Illumicrate dust jackets. In the last row is the standard US edition of How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, the Waterstones exclusive, B&N's exclusive, Owlcrate, and Fairyloot editions. 

10(ish) editions

Next is the book that inspired me to update this post. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was published in October 2020 and already has so many editions I could hardly believe it when each one was announced. 

This book hit the shelves with six editions right off the bat. Starting with the top left is the standard US hardcover, the UK hardcover (first print had blue sprayed edges), Illumicrate edition, Waterstones exclusive (with gold sprayed edges), Owlcrate edition, and Forbidden Planet exclusive. Beginning after that are upcoming editions that will be published this September and October. First is the standard (?) collector's edition, followed by the B&N exclusive. Then is a screenshot for a special "Autumn" edition from Waterstones that no one has much idea about. Finally is a paperback edition found for preorder on Forbidden Planet that I have been unable to find any information about. I'm genuinely not sure if there are or will be more editions of this book, but I feel like there's definitely one or two I missed. 

5 editions

I haven't paid much attention to Cassandra Clare's books over the years because I don't read them, but I couldn't help noticing the frenzy around her latest release. Chain of Iron definitely had quite a few editions!

First in this bunch is the standard hardcover, which seems to be the same in the US and UK. Next is the Waterstones exclusive, Illumicrate edition, Fairyloot edition, and UK tour edition. The previous book in this series, Chain of Gold, seems to have the same editions, perhaps with the exception of a tour copy. At least, I didn't find that one. Either way, it's A LOT of the same book. 

"So Tracy," you may ask. "What book(s) DO you collect?" I actually collect a few and the most I have of one book is eight copies of Shadow and Bone. My collection includes two different ARCs, three foreign editions, the original hardcover, and the US and UK collector's editions, which released nearly ten years after the book was published. All that to say, I do love to collect. Just because we don't do it the same way doesn't mean either of us is wrong! I can't stand new releases with a hundred editions, but I'm happy they exist for those that love them!

Do you collect multiple editions?
What book do you have the most copies of? 
Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday #300: Recent reads

Today's Topic: 
My Ten Most Recent Reads

Happy Tuesday! Today is my THREE HUNDREDTH Top Ten Tuesday post! It took me seven years to get to 300, but yay me! My reading this year has been a bit all over the place and that's apparent in these ten books. There's a bit of YA, some adult, thrillers, and graphic novels. Thankfully I didn't hate anything in this bunch! 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (5 stars)
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (2.5 stars)
Paper Girls: Book One by Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang (3.5 stars)
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (4 stars)
Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn (5 stars)
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas (3.5 stars)
Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn (4.5 stars)
You by Caroline Kepnes (4.5 stars)
Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn (5 stars)
The Meek by Der-shing Helmer (5 stars)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Mini Book Review: The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White

Title: The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte
Pages: 400
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1

Everything is as it should be in Camelot. King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

The Guinevere Deception was one of my favorite books of 2019 and I couldn't wait to dive into The Camelot Betrayal!

This installment was so much fun and I loved seeing the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot develop more. I know that a lot of people are hoping for a Guinevere and Lancelot romance, but I love their friendship at the moment. My mind could certainly still be changed, but I'm firmly team Mordred at the moment.

I really enjoyed that there was a quest in this book, which expanded the world and showed us more of Guinevere away from Arthur. I also appreciated getting more of Guinevere's backstory and can't wait to find out even more about who she really is and what her purpose is.

Although I loved this book, I did find myself enjoying it a bit less than the first one. It was a quicker read, but I loved the mystery of The Guinevere Deception a bit more. I was hoping for a bit more development with the main story, but the side quest was still a lot of fun. I will definitely be preordering the third one!